With Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's long-expected announcement that he is not seeking re-election in 2006, it would seem that the Governor is gearing up for a Presidential run. As I wrote in February, Romney has a credible path to the Republican Presidential nomination. I said then that
The Governor should be able to be competitive in the lead-off Iowa caucuses. Success in Iowa largely depends on organizational strength. Romney will go to Iowa with an initial advantage in organization - ties to the Mormon community in Iowa and neighboring states.
If Romney wins the Iowa caucuses, he would be able to build on his natural regional advantage in the New Hampshire primary. Assuming a win in New Hampshire, he would then face his toughest test in the South Carolina primary. If he wins there, he would likely have sufficient momentum to be virtually assured the nomination by early 2008.
As has been noted elsewhere, the 2008 Presidential contest will be the first since 1952 in which neither the incumbent President nor the incumbent Vice President will be seeking the Oval Office. While Romney may be something of a long-shot, virtually everyone else seeking the Presidency is also a long-shot at this point. The key for Romney will be South Carolina; one should expect that primary to get as heated and ugly as the 2000 primary between then-Texas Governor George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain. Whoever comes out on top in South Carolina is likely to be the Republican nominee. For that reason, one should expect the Republican nominee - Romney or anyone else - to stand closely by far-right wing principles and policies. That will be ugly.